By Haley Fisackerly, President and CEO, Entergy Mississippi
As anyone who has gone to a grocery store lately knows, prices are continuing to go up. The same is true with the costs related to generating and delivering electricity. Because of this, we at Entergy Mississippi want to give customers the tools and resources needed to manage rising power bills.
Like many utilities across the country, Entergy Mississippi relies heavily on natural gas. Unfortunately, the cost to buy that natural gas has more than doubled over the last year. Entergy Mississippi has no control over what we are charged for natural gas, and we do not make a profit on those transactions. Our company has already reduced our natural gas power generation by investing in Grand Gulf Nuclear Station and building new solar power plants, and we continue to look for ways to diversify our fuel sources. However, more than half of the electricity Entergy Mississippi generates for its customers still comes from power plants that run on natural gas. And these persistently high natural gas prices will raise customers’ power bills beginning this fall and going into 2023.
Entergy Mississippi not only wants to alert our customers in advance when we see factors beyond our control raising power bills, we also want to give them the tools and resources needed to manage these bills. That is why we are spending nearly $3.2 million in shareholder dollars to launch “Operation: Bill Assist” – the largest bill assistance program for customers in our company’s history. The effort provides between $150 to $1,000 in direct bill payment help from our company to Mississippi families who need help paying their power bills. This includes older adults, those who are disabled and customers who do not qualify for government assistance.
The program also provides a free home energy efficiency tool kit valued at more than $35 to every customer who wants one. The kit includes LED light bulbs, an advanced power strip, a kitchen faucet aerator and other tools that can be easily installed in a home immediately to shave real dollars off customers’ monthly power bills. In addition, customers can go online and find information about free home heating and cooling audits and other online tools users can take advantage of for even more savings. Experts estimate that customers employing all the kit-included and online tools available can save as much as $300 a year on their power bill.
We will keep our customers informed at entergymississippi.com as we begin releasing more details in the coming weeks about how customers can apply for this bill help or request a home energy efficiency kit. If you do not inquire yourself, I hope you will consider sharing the information with family, friends or neighbors who might be struggling and need help.
Our company is proud that our rates over the years have remained below the U.S. average. However, many of our more than 2,700 utility and nuclear employees in Mississippi are Entergy customers, too, and understand how price increases can impact hard-working Mississippi families. For that reason, please know that Entergy Mississippi is committed to stepping up and doing everything we can to help our customers when they need it most.